Give Your Food Choices a Spring Cleaning! By Shannon Crocker RD www.shannoncrocker.ca @shancrockerRD Giving your kitchen a deep clean this spring? While you’re cleaning, take time to reorganize your fridge, freezer and cupboards: Toss out foods that are no longer fresh, past their best before dates, or recognizable! Purge your pantry of highly processed, nutrient-poor snack foods and packaged meal items. Put more nutritious food choices up front, at eye level, in your cupboards and fridge – that helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. Next step…refresh your food choices! Here are a few of my top tips for refreshing food choices this spring – for your fridge, freezer and pantry. Freshen Up Your Fridge! Milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. With up to 16 essential nutrients and endless meal possibilities, milk products are always a staple in my fridge. This Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Cottage Cheese is a yummy addition to your spring menu. Try it – you’ll love it! Fresh vegetables and fruit. Look for strawberries and rhubarb in May – they make fantastic fruit crisps. Spring is also asparagus season – how about roasted asparagus with a little tangy cheese sauce? Natural nut butters. I recommend natural nut butters, such as peanut or almond for best nutty taste without added sugar. An apple with a smear of natural peanut butter makes a smart snack to pack for a spring hike. Fill Your Freezer! Vegetables. For healthy meals in a flash, fill your freezer with frozen leafy greens such as spinach, kale or mixed Asian vegetables for a light veggie stir-fry. Fruit. Frozen berries, bananas and mangos make quick smoothies for breakfasts and snacks on the go. This Mega Mango Smoothie is light, refreshing and packed with protein for longer lasting satisfaction. Edamame. This little green soybean is a staple in my salads. Simply defrost and toss on top of a leafy green or grain-based salad for a protein and fibre boost. Perk Up Your Pantry! Snacks – choose nutrient-rich foods foods like nuts, popcorn and plain, whole grain cereals for snacking. Package nuts into individual containers if it helps you to keep portions right-sized. A handful of nuts with a piece of fruit make a super snack after an afternoon of spring gardening. Legumes – chickpeas, black beans and lentils are always in my cupboard. These protein-rich plant foods are tops for salads, spreads and snacks. Lentils make quick and satisfying soups – which are terrific for crisp spring evenings. Whole grains – quinoa, brown rice and barley. I love lemony barley risotto as a nutrient- and fibre-rich spring side dish. Cook pot barley in salt-free chicken broth, add the zest of a lemon and a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pepper. Easy and so tasty! Happy Spring!